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Title: Applied Psychology: Driving Power of Thought - Being the Third in a Series of Twelve Volumes on the - Applications of Psychology to the Problems of Personal and - Business Efficiency
Author: Hilton, Warren, 1874-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Applied Psychology


  _Being the Third of a Series of
  Twelve Volumes on the Applications
  of Psychology to the Problems of
  Personal and Business


  The Society of Applied Psychology


  (_Printed in the United States of America_)


  Chapter                                                 Page


         THE TWO TYPES OF THOUGHT                            5


         ELEMENTARY CONCLUSIONS                              9
         FIRST EFFORT OF THE MIND                           10
         DISTORTED EYE PICTURES                             11
         ELEMENTS THAT MAKE UP AN IDEA                      12
         CAUSAL JUDGMENTS AND THE OUTER WORLD               13


         THE MARVEL OF THE MIND                             17
         THE INDELIBLE IMPRESS                              18
         HOW IDEAS ARE CREATED                              19
         THE ARCHIVES OF THE MIND                           22


         THE SEEMING CHAOS OF MIND                          27
         PREDICTING YOUR NEXT IDEA                          28
         THE BONDS OF INTELLECT                             29
         BRANDS AND TAGS                                    32
         HOW EXPERIENCE IS SYSTEMATIZED                     33
         HOW LANGUAGE IS SIMPLIFIED                         34


         IDEAS THAT STIMULATE                               39
         PIVOTAL LAW OF BUSINESS PASSION                    40
         ENERGIZING EMOTIONS                                41
         CROSS-ROADS OF SUCCESS OR FAILURE                  42
         THE LIFE OF EFFORT                                 43
         THE MOTIVE POWER OF PROGRESS                       44
         THE VALUE OF AN IDEA                               45
         THE HARD WORK REQUIRED TO FAIL                     46
         CREATIVE POWER OF THOUGHT                          47
         CONSCIOUS AND UNCONSCIOUS TRAINING                 48
         CUTTING INTO THE QUICK                             50
         EXECUTIVES, REAL AND SHAM                          51
         MENTAL ATTITUDE OF ONE'S BUSINESS                  52
         PSYCHOLOGICAL ENGINEERING                          53


         A CLUE TO ADAPTABILITY                             57
         MAPPING THE MENTALITY                              58
         THE KIND OF "HELP" YOU NEED                        59
         TESTS FOR DIFFERENT MENTAL TRAITS                  60
         TEST OF UNCONTROLLED ASSOCIATIONS                  61
         TEST FOR QUICK THINKING                            62
         MEASURING SPEED OF THOUGHT                         63
         RANGE OF MENTAL TESTS                              64
         TESTS FOR ARMY AND NAVY                            65
         TESTS FOR RAILROAD EMPLOYEES                       66
         WHAT ONE FACTORY SAVED                             67
         TESTS FOR HIRING TELEPHONE GIRLS                   69
         MEMORY TEST                                        71
         TEST FOR ATTENTION                                 72
         TEST FOR GENERAL INTELLIGENCE                      74
         TEST FOR EXACTITUDE                                76
         TEST FOR RAPIDITY OF MOVEMENT                      77
         TEST FOR ACCURACY OF MOVEMENT                      78
         RESULTS OF EXPERIMENTS                             79
         THEORY AND PRACTICE                                85
         HOW TO IDENTIFY THE UNFIT                          87
         MEANS TO GREAT BUSINESS ECONOMIES                  88
         ROUND PEGS IN SQUARE HOLES                         89
         THE DANGER IN TWO-FIFTHS OF A SECOND               90
         PICKING A PRIVATE SECRETARY                        91
         FINDING OUT THE CLOSE-MOUTHED                      92
         A TEST FOR SUGGESTIBILITY                          93
         SELECTING A STENOGRAPHER                           95
         TESTS FOR AUDITORY ACUITY                          96
         A TEST FOR ROTE MEMORY                             97
         A TEST FOR RANGE OF VOCABULARY                    100
         KINDS OF TESTING APPARATUS                        108
         ANALYSIS OF DIFFERENT CALLINGS                    109



[Sidenote: _Vitalizing Influence of Certain Ideas_]

One of the greatest discoveries of modern times is the impellent
energy of thought.

That every idea in consciousness is energizing and carries with it an
impulse to some kind of muscular activity is a comparatively new but
well-settled principle of psychology. That this principle could be
made to serve practical ends seems never to have occurred to anyone
until within the last few years.

[Sidenote: _The Work of Prince, Gerrish, Sidis, Janet, Binet_]

Certain eminent pioneers in therapeutic psychology, such men as
Prince, Gerrish, Sidis, Janet, Binet and other physician-scientists,
have lately made practical use of the vitalizing influence of certain
classes of ideas in the healing of disease.

We shall go farther than these men have gone and show you that the
impellent energy of ideas is the means to all practical achievement
and to all practical success.

Preceding books in this Course have taught that--

I. _All human achievement comes about through some form of bodily

II. _All bodily activity is caused, controlled and directed by the

III. _The mind is the instrument you must employ for the
accomplishment of any purpose._

[Sidenote: _The Two Types of Thought_]

You have learned that the fundamental processes of the mind are the
Sense-Perceptive Process and the Judicial Process.

So far you have considered only the former--that is to say,
sense-impressions and our perception of them. You have learned through
an analysis of this process that the environment that prescribes your
conduct and defines your career is wholly mental, the product of your
own selective attention, and that it is capable of such deliberate
molding and adjustment by you as will best promote your interests.

But the mere perception of sense-impressions, though a fundamental
part of our mental life, is by no means the whole of it. The mind is
also able to look at these perceptions, to assign them a meaning and
to reflect upon them. These operations constitute what are called the
Judicial Processes of the Mind.

The Judicial Processes of the Mind are of two kinds, so that, in the
last analysis, there are, in addition to sense-perceptions, two, and
only two, types of thought.

One of these types of thought is called a Causal Judgment and the
other a Classifying Judgment.



A Causal Judgment interprets and explains sense-perceptions. For
instance, the tiny baby's first vague notion that _something_, no
knowing what, must have caused the impressions of warmth and
whiteness and roundness and smoothness that accompany the arrival
of its milk-bottle--this is a causal judgment.

[Sidenote: _Elementary Conclusions_]

The very first conclusion that you form concerning any sensation that
reaches you is that something produced it, though you may not be
very clear as to just what that something is. The conclusions of the
infant mind, for example, along this line must be decidedly vague and
indefinite, probably going no further than to determine that the cause
is either inside or outside of the body. Even then its judgment may
be far from sure.

[Sidenote: _First Effort of the Mind_]

Yet, baby or grown-up, young or old, the first effort of every human
mind upon the receipt and perception of a sensation is to find out
what produced it. The conclusion as to what did produce any particular
sensation is plainly enough a judgment, and since it is a judgment
determining the cause of the sensation, it may well be termed a causal

Causal judgments, taken by themselves, are necessarily very
indefinite. They do not go much beyond deciding that each individual
sensation has a cause, and is not the result of chance on the one hand
nor of spontaneous brain excitement on the other. Taken by themselves,
causal judgments are disconnected and all but meaningless.

[Sidenote: _Distorted Eye Pictures_]

I look out of my window at the red-roofed stone schoolhouse across
the way, and, _so far as the eye-picture alone is concerned_, all
that I get is an impression of a flat, irregularly shaped figure, part
white and part red. The image has but two dimensions, length and
breadth, being totally lacking in depth or perspective. It is a flat,
distorted, irregular outline of two of the four sides of the building.
It is not at all like the big solid masonry structure in which a
thousand children are at work. My causal judgments trace this
eye-picture to its source, but they do not add the details of
distance, perspective, form and size, that distinguish the reality
from an architect's front elevation. These causal judgments of visual
perceptions must be associated and compared with others before a real
"idea" of the schoolhouse can come to me.

[Sidenote: _Elements that Make Up an Idea_]

Taken by themselves, then, causal judgments fall far short of giving
us that truthful account of the outside world which we feel that our
senses can be depended on to convey.

[Sidenote: _Causal Judgments and the Outer World_]

If there were no mental processes other than sense-perceptions and
causal judgments, every man's mind would be the useless repository
of a vast collection of facts, each literally true, but all without
arrangement, association or utility. Our notion of what the outside
world is like would be very different from what it is. We would have
no concrete "ideas" or conceptions, such as "house," "book," "table,"
and so on. Instead, all our "thinking" would be merely an unassorted
jumble of simple, disconnected sense-perceptions.

What, then, is the process that unifies these isolated sense-perceptions
and gives us our knowledge of things as concrete wholes?



[Sidenote: _The Marvel of the Mind_]

A Classifying Judgment associates and compares present and past
sense-perceptions. It is the final process in the production of that
marvel of the mind, the "idea."

The simple perception of a sensation unaccompanied by any other mental
process is something that never happens to an adult human being.

In the infant's mind the arrival of a sense-impression arouses only
a perception, a consciousness of the sense-impression. In the mind of
any other person it awakens not only this present consciousness but
also the _associated_ memories of past experiences.

[Sidenote: _The Indelible Impress_]

Upon the slumbering mind of the newborn babe the very first message
from the sense-organs leaves its exquisite but indelible impress. The
next sense-perception is but part of a state of consciousness, in
which the memory of the first sense-perception is an active factor.
This is a higher type of mental activity. It is a something other and
more complex than the mere consciousness of a sensory message and the
decision as to its source.

The moment, then, that we get beyond the first crude sense-perception
_consciousness consists not of detached sensory images but of "ideas,"
the complex product of present sense-perceptions, past sense-perceptions
and the mental processes known to psychology as association and

[Sidenote: _How Ideas are Created_]

Every concrete conception or idea, such as "horse," "rose,"
"mountain," is made up of a number of associated properties. It has
mass, form and various degrees of color, light and shade. Every
quality it possesses is represented by a corresponding visual,
auditory, tactual or other sensation.

Thus, your first sense-perception of coffee was probably that of
_sight_. You perceived a brown liquid and your causal judgment
explained that this sense-perception was the result of something
outside of your body. Standing alone, this causal judgment meant very
little to you, so far as your knowledge of coffee was concerned. So
also the causal judgment that traced your sense of the smell of coffee
to some object in space meant little until it was added to and
associated with your eye-vision of that same point in space. And it
was only when the causal judgment explaining the _taste_ of coffee
was added to the other two that you had an "_idea_" of what coffee
really was.

When you look at a building, you receive a number and variety of
simultaneous sensations, all of which, by the exercise of a causal
judgment, you at once ascribe to the same point in space. From this
time on the same flowing together of sensations from the same place
will always mean for you that particular material thing, that
particular building. You have a sensation of yellow, and forthwith a
causal judgment tells you that something outside of your body produced
it. But it would be a pretty difficult matter for you to know just
what this something might be if there were not other simultaneous
sensations of a different kind coming from the same point in space. So
when you see a yellow color and at the same time experience a certain
familiar taste and a certain softness of touch, all arising from the
same source, then by a series of classifying judgments you put all
these different sensations together, assign them to the same object,
and give that object a name--for example, "butter."

[Sidenote: _The Archives of the Mind_]

This process of grouping and classification that we are describing
under the name of "classifying judgments" is no haphazard affair. It
is carried on in strict compliance with certain well-defined laws.

These laws prescribe and determine the workings of your mind just as
absolutely as the laws of physics control the operations of material

While each of these laws has its own special province and
jurisdiction, yet all have one element in common, and that is that
they all relate to those mental operations by which sense-perceptions,
causal judgments, and even classifying judgments, past, present and
imaginative, are grouped, bound together, arranged, catalogued and
pigeonholed in the archives of the mind.

These laws, taken collectively, are therefore called the Laws of



[Sidenote: _The Seeming Chaos of Mind_]

If there is any one thing in the world that seems utterly chaotic, it
is the way in which the mind wanders from one subject of thought to
another. It requires but a moment for it to flash from New York to
San Francisco, from San Francisco to Tokio, and around the globe. Yet
mental processes are as law-abiding as anything else in Nature.

[Sidenote: _Predicting Your Next Idea_]

So much is this true, that if we knew every detail of your past
experience from your first infantile sensation, and knew also just
what you are thinking of at the present moment, we could predict to
a mathematical certainty just what ideas would next appear on the
kaleidoscopic screen of your thoughts. This is due to laws that govern
the association of ideas.

These laws are, in substance, that the way in which judgments and
ideas are classified and stored away, and the order in which they are
brought forth into consciousness depends upon what other judgments and
ideas they have been associated with most _habitually_, _recently_,
_closely_ and _vividly_.

There are, therefore, four Prime Laws of Association--the Law of
Habit, the Law of Recency, the Law of Contiguity and the Law of

Every idea that can possibly arise in your thoughts has its vast
array of associates, to each of which it is linked by some one element
in common. Thus, you see or dream of a yellow flower, and the one
property of yellowness links the idea of that flower with everything
you ever before saw or dreamed of that was similarly hued.

[Sidenote: _The Bonds of Intellect_]

But the yellow-flower thought is not tied to all these countless
associates by bonds of equal strength. And which associate shall come
next to mind is determined by the four Prime Laws of Association.

The Law of Habit requires that _frequency_ of association be the one
test to determine what idea shall next come into consciousness, while
the Laws of Recency, Contiguity and Vividness emphasize respectively
recency of occurrence, closeness in point of space and intensity of
impression. Which law and which element shall prevail is all a
question of degree.

The most important of these laws is the _Law of Habit_. In obedience
to this law, _the next idea to enter the mind will be the one that has
been most frequently associated with the interesting part of the
subject you are now thinking of_.

The sight of a pile of manuscript on your desk ready for the printer,
the thought of a printer, the word "printer," spoken or printed, calls
to mind the particular printer with whom you have been dealing for
some years.

The word "cocoa," the thought of a cup of cocoa, the mental picture
of a cup of cocoa, may conjure with it not merely a steaming cup
before the mind's eye and the flavor of the contents, but also a
daintily clad figure in apron and cap bearing the brand of some
well-known cocoa manufacturer.

If a typist or pianist has learned one system of fingering, it is
almost impossible to change, because each letter, each note on the
keyboard is associated with the idea of movement in a particular
finger. Constant use has so welded these associations together that
when one enters the mind it draws its associate in its train.

Test the truth of these principles for yourself. Try them out and see
whether the elements of habit, contiguity, recency and intensity do
not determine all questions of association.

[Sidenote: _Brands and Tags_]

If you wanted to buy a house, what local subdivision would come first
to your mind, and why? If you were about to purchase a new tire for
your automobile or a few pairs of stockings, what brand would you buy,
and why? When you think of a camera or a cake of soap, what particular
make comes first to your mind? When you think of a home, what is the
mental picture that rises before you, and why?

Whatever the article, whether it be one of food or luxury or
investment, or even of sentiment, you will find that it is tagged with
a definite associate--a name, a brand, or a personality characterized
by frequency, recency, closeness or vividness of presentation to your

The grouping together of sensations into integral ideas is one step
in the complicated mental processes by which useful knowledge is
acquired. But the associative processes go much beyond this.

[Sidenote: _How Experience is Systematized_]

We also compare the different objects of present and past experience.
We carefully and thoroughly catalogue them into groups, divisions and
subdivisions for convenient and ready reference. This we do by the
processes of memory, of association and of discrimination, previously
referred to.

[Sidenote: _How Language Is Simplified_]

Through these processes our knowledge of the world, derived from the
whole vast field of experience, is unified and systematized. Through
these processes is order realized from chaos. Through these processes
it comes about that not only individual thought, but the communication
of thought from one person to another, is vastly simplified. Language
is enabled to deal with ideas instead of with isolated sense-perceptions.
The single word "horse" suffices to convey a thought that could not be
adequately set forth in a page-long enumeration of disconnected

The associative process covers a wide range. It includes, for example,
not only the simple definition of an aggregate of sense-perceptions,
as "horse" or "cow"; it includes as well the inferential process of
abstract reasoning.

[Sidenote: _Processes of Reasoning and Reflection_]

The only real difference between these widely diverse mental acts, one
apparently so much less complicated and profound than the other, is
that the former involves _no act of memory_, while the latter is based
wholly on sensory experiences _of the past_.

_Abstract reasoning is merely reasoning from premises and to
conclusions which are not present to our senses at the time._



[Sidenote: _Ideas that Stimulate_]

It is a recognized fact of observation that _Every idea has a certain
emotional quality associated with it, a sort of "feeling tone."_

If ideas of health and triumphant achievement are brought into
consciousness, we at the same time experience a state of energy, a
feeling of courage and capability and joy and a stimulation of all the
bodily processes. If, on the other hand, ideas of disease and death
and failure are brought into consciousness, we at the same time
experience feelings of sorrow and mental suffering and a state of
lethargy, a feeling of inertia, impotence and fatigue.


_Exalted ideas have associated with them a vitalizing and energizing
emotional quality. Depressive memories or ideas have associated with
them a depressing and disintegrating emotional quality._

[Sidenote: _Pivotal Law of Business Passion_]

The wise application of this law will lead you to vigorous health
and material prosperity. Its disregard or misuse brings deterioration
and failure.

The distinction between wise use and misuse lies in _whether
disintegrating or creative thoughts, with their correspondingly
energizing or depressing emotions or feelings, are allowed to hold
sway in consciousness._

[Sidenote: _Energizing Emotions_]

When we speak of _energizing_ emotions or feelings we mean love,
courage, brightness, earnestness, cheer, enthusiasm. When we speak of
_depressing_ emotions or feelings we mean doubt, fear, worry, gloom.

No elements are more essential to a successful business or a
successful life than the right kind of emotional elements. Yet they
are rarely credited with the importance to which they are entitled.

To the unthinking the word "emotion" has the same relation to success
that foam has to the water beneath. Yet nothing could be farther from
the truth. Emotion, earnestness, fire, enthusiasm--these are the very
life of effort. They are steam to the engine; they are what the
lighted fuse is to the charge of dynamite. They are the elements that
give flash to the eye, spring to the step, resoluteness to the languid
and certainty to effort. They are the elements that distinguish the
living, acting forces of achievement from the spiritless forces of

[Sidenote: _Cross-Roads of Success or Failure_]

No man ever rose very high who did not possess strong reserves of
emotional energy. Napoleon said, "I would rather have the ardor of my
soldiers, and they half-trained, than have the best fighting machines
in Europe without this element."

Emotional energy of the right kind makes one fearless and undaunted
in the face of any discouragement. It is never at rest. It feeds on its
own achievements. It is the love of an Heloise and the ambition of an

[Sidenote: _The Life of Effort_]

It is this emotional energy that makes business passion, that makes
men love their business, that brings their hearts into harmony with
their undertakings, and that gives them splendid visions of commercial

[Sidenote: _The Motive Power of Progress_]

Through all the ages great souls have drowsed in spiritless
acquiescence until some tide of emotional energy swept over them, "as
the breeze wanders over the dead strings of some Aeolian harp, and
sweeps the music which slumbers upon them now into divine murmurings,
now into stormy sobs." And then, and then, these Joans of Arc, these
Hermit Peters, these Abraham Lincolns, these Pierpont Morgans, these
warriors, statesmen, financiers, business men, salesmen, these
practical crusaders and business enthusiasts, have sent out their
influence into measureless fields of achievement.

Emotional energy generated on proper lines, and based on the support
of a fixed intent, is a force that nothing can withstand, and we tell
you that every idea that comes into your mind has its emotional
quality, and that by the intelligent direction of your conscious
"_thinking_" you can call into your life or drive out of it these
powerful emotional influences for good or evil.

[Sidenote: _The Value of an Idea_]

As Mr. Waldo P. Warren says, "Who can measure the value of an idea?
Starting as the bud of an acorn, it becomes at last a forest of mighty
oaks; or beginning as a spark it consumes the rubbish of centuries.

"Ideas are as essential to progress as a hub to a wheel, for they form
the center around which all things revolve. Ideas begin great
enterprises, and the workers of all lands do their bidding. Ideas
govern the governors, rule the rulers, and manage the managers of all
nations and industries. Ideas are the motive power which turns the
tireless wheels of toil. Ideas raise the plowboy to president, and
constitute the primal element of the success of men and nations.
Ideas form the fire that lights the torch of progress, leading
on the centuries. Ideas are the keys which open the storehouses
of possibility. Ideas are the passports to the realms of great
achievement. Ideas are the touch-buttons which connect the currents of
energy with the wheels of history. Ideas determine the bounds, break
the limits, move on the goal, and waken latent capacity to successive
sunrises of better days."

Even without our telling you, you know that whenever a man makes up
his mind that he is beaten in some fight his very thinking so helps
on the fatal outcome.

[Sidenote: _The Hard Work Required to Fail_]

The truth is, _It takes just as much brain work to accomplish a
failure as it does to win success_--just as much effort to build up
a depressive mental attitude as an energizing one.

[Sidenote: _Creative Power of Thought_]

Take for granted that you have the courage, the energy, the
self-confidence and the enthusiasm to do what you want to do, and
you will find yourself in possession of these splendid qualities
when the need arises.

Consciously or unconsciously, you have already trained your mind to
discriminate among sense-impressions. It perceives some and ignores
others. For each perception it selects such associates as you have
trained it to select. Have you trained it wisely? Does it associate
the new facts of observation with those memory-pictures that will make
the new ideas useful and productive of fruitful bodily activities?

[Sidenote: _Conscious and Unconscious Training_]

If not, it is time for you to turn over a new leaf and habitually and
persistently direct your attention to those associative elements in
each new-learned fact that will make for health and happiness and
success. Train your mind deliberately, and day by day, to such
constant incorporation of feelings of courage and confidence and
assurance into all your thoughts that the associated impulses to
bodily activity will inevitably influence your whole life.

At the outset of every undertaking you are confronted with two ways of
attacking it. One is with _doubt and uncertainty_; the other is with
_courage and confidence_.

[Sidenote: _Two Ways of Attacking Business Problems_]

The first of these mental attitudes is purely negative. It is
inhibitory. It is made up of mental pictures of yourself in direful
situations, and these mental pictures bring with them depressing
emotions and _muscular inhibitions_.

The second attitude is positive. It is inspiring. It is made up of
mental pictures of yourself bringing the affair to a triumphant issue,
and these mental pictures bring with them stimulating emotions and the
impulses to those bodily activities that will _realize your aims_.

You have only to start the thing off with the right mental attitude
and hold to it. All the rest is automatic. Think this over.

Put this same idea into your business. Analyze your business with
reference to its _mental attitude_. Of course, you know all about its
organization, its various departments, its machinery and equipment,
its methods, its cost system, its organized efficiency. But what about
its mental attitude? Every store, every industrial establishment has
an air of its own, an indefinite something that distinguishes it from
every other. This is why you buy your cigars at one place instead of
at another.

[Sidenote: _Cutting into the Quick_]

Look behind the methods and the systems and all the wooden machinery
of your business and you come to its throbbing life. There you find
the characteristic quality that governs its future. There you find the
attitude, the mental attitude, that pulls the strings determining the
conduct of clerks and salesmen, managers and superintendents, and
this attitude is in the last analysis a reflection of the mental
attitude of the executive head himself--not necessarily the nominal
executive head, but the real executive head, however he be called.

[Sidenote: _Executives Real and Sham_]

Does the truckman whistle at his work? Is the salesman proud of his
line and his house? Does he approach his "prospect" with the confident
enthusiasm that brings orders? Does the shipping clerk take a
delighted interest in getting out his deliveries? They must have this
mental attitude, or you will never win. Are you yourself "making good"
in this respect? Remember that, whether you know it or not, your
inmost thoughts are reflected in your voice and manner, your every
act. And all your subordinates, whether they know it or not, see these
things and reflect your attitude.

[Sidenote: _Mental Attitude of One's Business_]

Therefore, in all you do, and in all you think, do it and think it
with courage and with unwavering faith, fearing nothing.

Later on we shall instruct you in specific methods that will enable
you to follow this injunction. For the present we must be content with
emphasizing its importance.

[Sidenote: _Psychological Engineering_]

In what follows in this book we shall bring forth no new principle
of mental operation, but shall illustrate those already learned by
reference to certain practical uses to which they can be applied. Our
purpose in this is to impress you with the immense practical value of
the knowledge you are acquiring, and to show you that this course
of reading has nothing to do with telepathy, spiritism, clairvoyance,
animal magnetism, fortune-telling, astrology or witchcraft, but,
on the contrary, that in its revelation of mental principles and
processes it is laying a scientific basis for a highly differentiated
type of efficiency engineering.



In the preceding volume, entitled "Making Your Own World," you learned
that reaction-time is the interval that elapses between the moment
when a sense-vibration reaches the body and the moment when perception
is made known by some outward response.

[Sidenote: _A Clue to Adaptability_]

Reaction-time can be made to furnish a clue to the adaptability of the
individual for any business, profession or vocation.

To determine the character, accuracy and rapidity of the mental
reactions of different individuals under different conditions, various
scientific methods have been evolved and cunning devices invented.

[Sidenote: _Mapping the Mentality_]

There are decisive reaction-time tests by which you may readily map
out your own mentality or that of any other person, including, for
instance, those who may seek employment under you.

Have you been harboring the delusion that "quick as thought" is a
phrase expressive of flash-like quickness? Have you had the idea that
thought is instantaneous? If so, you must alter your conceptions.

The fact is that your merely automatic reactions from
sense-impressions can be measured in tenths of a second, while a
really intellectual operation of the simplest character requires from
one to several seconds.

An important thing for you to know in this connection is that no two
people are alike in this respect. Some think quickly along certain
lines; some along other lines.

[Sidenote: _The Kind of "Help" You Need_]

And the man or woman that you need in any department of your business
is that one _whose mind works swiftly in the particular way required
for your business_.

How rapidly does your mind work? How fast do your thoughts come,
compared to the average man in your field of activity?

How fast does your stenographer think? Your clerk? Your chauffeur?
Are they up to the average of those engaged in similar work? If not,
you had best make a change.

[Sidenote: _Tests for Different Mental Traits_]

A large number of tests and mechanical devices, some of them most
complicated, have been scientifically formulated or invented to
measure the quickness of different kinds of mental operations in the

One very simple test which we give merely to illustrate the principle
is called the "Test of Uncontrolled Association." All the materials
needed for this test are a stop-watch and a blank form containing
numbered spaces for one hundred words.

[Sidenote: _Test of Uncontrolled Associations_]

Give these instructions to the person you are examining: "When I say
'Now!' I want you to start in with some word, any one you like, and
keep on saying words as fast as you can until you have given a hundred
different words. You may give any words you like, but they must not
be in sentences. I will tell you when to stop." You then start your
stop-watch with the command "Now!" and write the words on the blank
form as fast as they are spoken. Mere abbreviations or shorthand will
suffice. When the hundredth word is reached, stop the watch and note
the time.

The average time for lists of words written in this fashion is about
308 seconds.

[Sidenote: _Test for Quick Thinking_]

This is a fair test of the rapidity of the associative processes
of the mind. It will reveal many strange and characteristic
idiosyncrasies. On the other hand, considering the vast number of
words available, it is remarkable to note the degree of community to
be found in the words that will be given by a number of persons. Thus,
"in fifty lists (5,000 words) only 2,024 words were different, only
1,266 occurred but once, while the one hundred most frequent words
made up three-tenths of the whole number."

Professor Jastrow, of Wisconsin University, has found also that the
"class to which women contribute most largely is that of articles of
dress, one word in every eleven belonging to this class. The inference
from this, that dress is the predominant category of the feminine (or
of the privy feminine) mind, is valid, with proper reservations."

[Sidenote: _Measuring Speed of Thought_]

Another method of testing speed of thought is to pronounce a series
of words and after each word have the subject speak the first word
that comes to him. The answers are taken down and are timed with a
stop-watch. About the quickest answers by an alert person will be made
in one second, or one and one-fifth seconds, while most persons take
from one and three-fifths to two and three-fifths seconds to answer,
under the most favorable circumstances. Puzzling words or conflicting
emotions will prolong this time to five and ten seconds in many
cases. Much depends upon the kind of words propounded to the subject,
starting with such simple words as "hat" and "coat," and changing to
words that tend to arouse emotion. A list of words may be carefully
selected to fit the requirements of different classes of subjects.

[Sidenote: _Range of Mental Tests_]

By appropriate tests, the quickness of response to sense-impressions,
the character of the associations of ideas, the workings of the
individual imagination, the nature of the emotional tendencies, the
character and scope of the powers of attention and discrimination, the
degree of persistence of the individual and his susceptibility to
fatigue in certain forms of effort, the visual, auditory and manual
skill, and even the moral character of the subject, can be more or
less clearly and definitely determined.


It is possible by these tests to distinguish individual differences
in thought processes as conditioned by age, sex, training, physical
condition, and so on, to analyze the comparative mental efficiency of
the worker at different periods in the day's work as affected by long
hours of application, by monotony and variety of occupation and the
like, and even to reveal obscure mental tendencies and to disclose
motives or information that are being intentionally concealed.

[Sidenote: _Tests for Army and Navy_]

Among the simplest of such tests are those for vision, hearing and
color discrimination. Tests of this kind are now given to all
applicants for enlistment in the army, the navy and the marine corps,
and more exacting tests of the same sort are given to candidates for
licenses as pilots and for positions as officers of ships.

[Sidenote: _Tests for Railroad Employees_]

Employees of railroads, and in some cases those of street
railroads, also, are subjected to tests for vision, hearing and
color-discrimination. In the case of trainmen the color-discrimination
tests result in the rejection of about four per cent of the applicants.
The tests are repeated every two years for all the men and at intervals
of six months for those suspected of defects in color discrimination.
In all of these cases the tests have for their object the detection
and rejection of unfit applicants.

[Sidenote: _What One Factory Saved_]

One of the earliest instances of work of this kind was the
introduction a few years ago of reaction-time tests in selecting
girls for the work of inspecting for flaws the steel balls used in
ball bearings. This work requires a concentrated type of attention,
good visual acuity and quick and keen perception, accompanied by quick
responsive action. The scientific investigator went into a bicycle
ball factory and with a stop-watch measured the reaction-time of all
the girls then at work. All those who showed a long time between
stimulus and reaction-time were then eliminated. The final outcome was
that thirty-five girls did the work formerly done by one hundred and
twenty; the accuracy of the work was increased by sixty-six per cent;
the wages of the girls were doubled; the working day was shortened
from ten and one-half hours to eight and one-half hours; and the
profit of the factory was substantially increased.

[Sidenote: _Professor Münsterberg's Experiments_]

To illustrate the methods employed and the importance of work of this
kind, we quote the following from the recent ground-breaking book,
"Psychology and Industrial Efficiency," by Professor Hugo Münsterberg,
of Harvard University. This extract is an account of Professor
Münsterberg's experimental method for determining in advance the
mental fitness of persons applying for positions as telephone
operators. Such information would be of immense value to telephone
companies, as each candidate who satisfies formal entrance requirements
receives several months' training in a telephone school and is paid a
salary while she is being trained.

[Sidenote: _Tests for Hiring Telephone Girls_]

One company alone employs twenty-three thousand operators, and more
than one-third of those employed and trained at the company's expense
prove unfitted and leave within six months, with a heavy resulting
financial loss to the company. The tests are numerous and somewhat
complicated and require more time to conduct them than tests in other
lines of work, but for these very reasons will be particularly
illuminating. Professor Münsterberg says:

"After carefully observing the service in the central office for a
while, I came to the conviction that it would not be appropriate here
to reproduce the activity at the switchboard in the experiment, but
that it would be more desirable to resolve that whole function into
its elements and to undertake the experimental test of a whole series
of elementary mental dispositions. Every one of these mental acts can
then be examined according to well-known laboratory methods without
giving to the experiments any direct relation to the characteristic
telephone operation as such. I carried on the first series of
experiments with about thirty young women who a short time before had
entered into the telephone training-school, where they are admitted
only at the age between seventeen and twenty-three years. I examined
them with reference to eight different psychological functions. * * *
A part of the psychological tests were carried on in individual
examinations, but the greater part with the whole class together.

[Sidenote: _Memory Test_]

[Sidenote: _Test for Attention_]

"These common tests referred to memory, attention, intelligence,
exactitude and rapidity. I may characterize the experiments in a few
words. The memory examination consisted of reading the whole class at
first two numbers of four digits, then two of five digits, then two of
six digits, and so on up to figures of twelve digits, and demanding
that they be written down as soon as a signal was given. The
experiments on attention, which in this case of the telephone
operators seemed to me especially significant, made use of a method
the principle of which has frequently been applied in the experimental
psychology of individual differences, and which I adjusted to our
special needs. The requirement is to cross out a particular letter
in a connected text. Every one of the thirty women in the classroom
received the same first page of a newspaper of that morning. I
emphasize that it was a new paper, as the newness of the content was
to secure the desired distraction of the attention. As soon as the
signal was given, each one of the girls had to cross out with a pencil
every 'a' in the text for six minutes. After a certain time, a bell
signal was given, and each then had to begin a new column. In this way
we could find out, first, how many letters were correctly crossed out
in those six minutes; secondly, how many letters were overlooked;
and thirdly, how the recognition and the oversight were distributed in
the various parts of the text. In every one of these three directions
strong individual differences were indeed noticeable. Some persons
crossed out many, but also overlooked many; others overlooked hardly
any of the 'a's,' but proceeded very slowly, so that the total number
of the crossed-out letters was small. Moreover, it was found that some
at first do poor work, but soon reach a point at which their attention
remains on a high level; others begin with a relatively high
achievement, but after a short time their attention flags, and the
number of crossed-out letters becomes smaller or the number of
unnoticed, overlooked letters increases. Fluctuations of attention,
deficiencies and strong points can be discovered in much detail.

[Sidenote: _Test for General Intelligence_]

"The third test, which was tried with the whole class, referred to the
intelligence of the individuals. * * * The psychological experiments
carried on in the schoolroom have demonstrated that this ability can
be tested by the measurement of some very simple mental activities. * * *
Among the various proposed schemes for this purpose, the figures suggest
that the most reliable one is the following method, the results of which
show the highest agreement between the rank order based on the experiments
and the rank order of the teachers. The experiment consists in reading to
the pupils a long series of pairs of words of which the two members of
the pair always logically belong together. Later, one word of each pair
will be read to them and they have to write down the word which belonged
with it in the pair." (For example, "thunder" and "lightning" are words
that "logically belong together," while "horse" and "bricks" are unrelated
terms.--_Editor's note._)

"This is not a simple experiment on memory. The tests have shown that
if, instead of logically connected words, simply disconnected chance
words are offered and reproduced, no one can keep such a long series
of pairs in mind, while with the words which have related meaning,
the most intelligent pupils can master the whole series. The very
favorable results which this method had yielded in the classroom made
me decide to try it in this case, too. I chose for an experiment
twenty-four pairs of words from the sphere of experience of the girls
to be tested." (For instance, "door, house"; "pillow, bed"; "letter,
word"; "leaf, tree"; "button, dress"; "nose, face"; "cover, kettle";
"page, book"; "engine, train"; "glass, window"; "enemy, friend";
"telephone, bell"; "thunder, lightning"; "ice, cold"; "ink, pen";
"husband, wife"; "fire, burn"; "sorry, sad"; "well, strong"; "mother,
child"; "run, fast"; "black, white"; "war, peace"; "arm,
hand."--_Editor's note._)

[Sidenote: _Test for Exactitude_]

"Two class experiments belonged rather to the periphery of

"The exactitude of space-perceptions was measured by demanding that
each divide first the long and then the short edge of a folio sheet
into two equal halves by a pencil-mark.

[Sidenote: _Test for Rapidity of Movement_]

"And finally, to measure the rapidity of movement, it was demanded
that every one make with a pencil on the paper zigzag movements of
a particular size during the ten seconds from one signal to another.

"After these class experiments, I turned to individual tests.

"First, every girl had to sort a pack of forty-eight cards into four
piles as quickly as possible. The time was measured in fifths of a
second, with an ordinary stop-watch.

[Sidenote: _Test for Accuracy of Movement_]

"The following experiment which referred to the accuracy of movement
impulses demanded that every one try to reach with the point of a
pencil three different points on the table in the rhythm of metronome
beats. On each of these three places a sheet of paper was fixed with
a fine cross in the middle. The pencil should hit the crossing point,
and the marks on the paper indicated how far the movement had fallen
short of the goal. One of these movements demanded the full extension
of the arm and the other two had to be made with half-bent arm. I
introduced this last test because the hitting of the right holes in
the switchboard of the telephone office is of great importance.


"The last individual experiment was an association test. I called six
words, like 'book,' 'house,' 'rain,' and had them speak the first word
which came to their minds. The time was measured in fifths of a second
only, with an ordinary stop-watch, as subtler experiments, for which
hundredths of a second would have to be considered, were not needed.

[Sidenote: _Results of Experiments_]

"In studying the results, so far as the memory experiments were
concerned, we found that it would be useless to consider the figures
with more than ten digits. We took the results only of those with
eight, nine and ten digits. There were fifty-four possibilities of
mistakes. The smallest number of actual mistakes was two, the
largest twenty-nine. In the experiment on attention made with the
crossing-out of letters, we found that the smallest number of
correctly marked letters was 107, the largest number in the six
minutes, 272; the smallest number of overlooked letters was two, the
largest 135; but this last case of abnormal carelessness stood quite
isolated. On the whole, the number of overlooked letters fluctuated
between five and sixty. If both results, those of the crossed-out and
those of the overlooked letters, are brought into relations, we find
that the best results were a case of 236 letters marked, with only two
overlooked, and one of 257 marked, with four overlooked. The very
interesting details as to the various types of attention which we see
in the distribution of mistakes over the six minutes were not taken
into our final table. The word experiments by which we tested the
intelligence showed that no one was able to reproduce more than
twenty-two of the twenty-four words. The smallest number of words
remembered was seven.

"The mistakes in the perception of distances fluctuated between
one and fourteen millimeters; the time for the sorting of the
forty-eight cards, between thirty-five and fifty-eight seconds; the
association-time for the six associated words taken together was
between nine and twenty-one seconds. The pointing experiments could
not be made use of in this first series, as it was found that quite
a number of participants were unable to perform the act with the
rapidity demanded.

"Several ways were open to make mathematical use of these results. I
preferred the simplest way. I calculated the grade of the girls for
each of these achievements. The same candidate who stood in the
seventh place in the memory experiment was in the fifteenth place with
reference to the number of letters marked, in the third place with
reference to the letters overlooked, in the twenty-first place with
reference to the number of word pairs which she had grasped, in the
eleventh place with reference to the exactitude of space-perception,
in the sixteenth place with reference to the association-time, and in
the sixth place with reference to the time of sorting. As soon as we
had all these independent grades, we calculated the average and in
this way ultimately gained a common order of grading. * * *

"With this average rank list, we compared the practical results of the
telephone company after three months had passed. These three months
had been sufficient to secure at least a certain discrimination
between the best, the average, and the unfit. The result of this
comparison was on the whole satisfactory. First, the skeptical
telephone company had mixed with the class a number of women who had
been in the service for a long while, and had even been selected as
teachers in the telephone school. I did not know, in figuring out
the results, which of the participants in the experiments these
particularly gifted outsiders were. If the psychological experiments
had brought the result that these individuals who stood so high in
the estimation of the telephone company ranked low in the laboratory
experiment, it would have reflected strongly on the reliability of the
laboratory method. The results showed, on the contrary, that these
women who had proved most able in practical service stood at the
top of our list. Correspondingly, those who stood the lowest in our
psychological rank list had in the mean time been found unfit in
practical service, and had either left the company of their own accord
or else had been eliminated. The agreement, to be sure, was not a
perfect one. One of the list of women stood rather low in the
psychological list, while the office reported that so far she had done
fair work in the service, and two others, to whom the psychological
laboratory gave a good testimonial were considered by the telephone
office as only fair.

[Sidenote: _Theory and Practice_]

"But it is evident that certain disagreements would have occurred even
with a more ideal method, as on the one side no final achievement in
practical service can be given after only three months, and because on
the other side a large number of secondary factors may enter which
entirely overshadow the mere question of psychological fitness. Poor
health, for instance, may hinder even the most fit individual from
doing satisfactory work, and extreme industry and energetic will may
for a while lead even the unfit to fair achievement, which, to be
sure, is likely to be coupled with a dangerous exhaustion. The slight
disagreements between the psychological results and the practical
valuation, therefore, do not in the least speak against the
significance of such a method. On the other hand, I emphasize that
this first series meant only the beginning of the investigation, and
it can hardly be expected that at such a first approach the best and
most suitable methods would at once be hit upon. A continuation of the
work will surely lead to much better combinations of test experiments
and to better adjusted schemes."

[Sidenote: _How to Identify the Unfit_]

Analytical test studies such as the foregoing form an almost
infallible means for finding out the unfit at the very beginning
instead of after a long and costly experimental trying-out in
vocational training-school or in actual service.

Whatever your line of business may be, you may rest assured that an
analysis of its needs will disclose numerous departments in which
specific mental tests and devices may be employed with a great saving
in time and money and a vastly increased efficiency and output of
working energy.

[Sidenote: _Means to Great Business Economies_]

Suppose that you are the manager of a street railroad employing a
large number of motormen. Would it not be of the greatest value to
you if in a few moments you could determine in advance whether any
given applicant for a position possessed the quickness of response to
danger signals that would enable him to avoid accidents? Think what
this would mean to the profits of your company in cutting down the
number of damage claims arising from accidents! Some electric railroad
companies have as many as fifty thousand accident indemnity cases per
year, which involve an expense amounting in some cases to thirteen
per cent of the annual gross earnings. Yet a comparatively simple
mechanism has been devised for determining by the reaction-time of any
applicant whether he would or would not be quick enough to stop his
car if a child ran in front of its wheels.

[Sidenote: _Round Pegs in Square Holes_]

The general employment of this test would result in the rejection of
about twenty-five per cent of those who are now employed as motormen
with a correspondingly large reduction in the number of deaths and
injuries from street-car accidents. And on the other hand, the general
use of psychological tests in other lines of work would make room for
these men in places for which they are peculiarly adapted and where
their earning power would be greater.

If, for example, the applicant responds to the signs of an emergency in
three-fifths of a second or less, and has the mental characteristics that
will enable him at the same time to maintain the speed required by the
schedule, he may be mentally fitted for the "job" of motorman; while if
it takes him one second or more to act in an emergency, he may be a
dangerous man for the company and for the public.

[Sidenote: _The Danger in Two-Fifths of a Second_]

Two-fifths of a second difference in time-reactions may mark the line
between safety and disaster. How absurd it is to trust to luck in
matters of this kind when by means of scientific experimental tests
you can accurately gauge your man before he has a chance to involve
you or your company in a heart-breaking tragedy and serious financial

You can readily see that very similar tests could be devised to meet
the needs of the employer of chauffeurs, as, for example, the manager
of a taxicab company, or the requirements of a railroad in the hiring
of its engineers.

[Sidenote: _Picking a Private Secretary_]

You should not employ as private secretary a person whose reactions
indicate a natural inability to keep a secret. This quality of mind
can be simply and unerringly detected by psychological tests.

[Sidenote: _Finding Out the Close-Mouthed_]

One quality entering into the ability to keep a secret is the degree
of suggestibility of the individual. That person who most quickly and
automatically obeys and responds to suggested commands possesses the
least degree of conscious self-control. The quality referred to is
illustrated by the child's game of "thumbs up, thumbs down," and
"Simon says thumbs up" and "Simon says thumbs down." Those persons
who are unable to wait for the "Simon says," but mechanically obey
the command "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" would be those least able
to resist a trap artfully laid to compel them to disclose what they
wished to conceal. Like efficiency in observation, attention and
memory, however, suggestibility is specific, not general, in
character--that is to say, persons may be easily influenced by certain
kinds of suggestion while possessing a strong degree of resistance
to other kinds. Consequently actual tests of this quality cannot be
limited to one method.


For purposes of illustration, here is a simple form of what is known
as the "line" test for suggestibility. The subject is seated about
two feet away from and in front of a revolving drum on which is a
strip of white paper. On this strip of white paper are drawn twenty
parallel straight lines. These lines begin at varying distances from
the left-hand margin. Each of the first four lines is fifty per cent
longer than the one before it, but the remaining sixteen lines are
all of the same length.

[Sidenote: _A Test for Suggestibility_]

The examiner says to the subject, "I want to see how good your 'eye'
is. I'll show you a line, say an inch or two long, and I want you to
reproduce it right afterwards from memory. Some persons make bad
mistakes; they may make a line two inches long when I show them one
three inches long; others make one four or five inches long. Let's
see how well you can do. I shall show you the line through this
slit. Take just one look at it, then make a mark on this paper
[cross-section paper] just the distance from this left-hand margin
that the line is long. Do that with each line as it appears."

The lines are then shown one at a time, and after each is noted it
is turned out of sight. As the lines of equal length are presented,
the examiner says alternately, "Here is a longer one," "Here is a
shorter one," and so on. The extent to which these misleading
suggestions of the examiner are accepted and acted upon by the
subject in plain violation of the evidence of his senses tests in
a measure his suggestibility, his automatic, mechanical and immediate
responsiveness to the influence of others and his comparative lack
of strong resistance to such outside influences. Inability to
satisfactorily meet this and similar tests for suggestibility would
indicate an unfitness for such duties as those required by a private
secretary, who must at all times have himself well in hand and not
be easily lured into embarrassing revelations.

[Sidenote: _Selecting a Stenographer_]

You should not employ as stenographer a person whose time-reactions
indicate a slowness of auditory response or an inability to carry
in mind a long series of dictated words, or whose vocabulary is too
limited for the requirements of your business.

[Sidenote: _Tests for Auditory Acuity_]

The quickness of auditory response may be determined either by speech
tests or by instrumental tests. In either case the acuteness of
hearing of the applicant is measured by the ability to promptly and
correctly report sounds at various known ranges, the acuity of the
normal ear under precisely similar conditions having been previously
determined. Speech involves a great variety of combinations--of pitch,
accent, inflection and emphasis. Consequently a scientific speech test
involves the preparation of lists of words based upon an analysis of
the elements of whispered and spoken utterance. This work has been
done, and such lists and tests are available.

[Sidenote: _A Test for Rote Memory_]

For testing the ability to remember a series of dictated words the
following lists of words are recommended:

_Concrete_ _Abstract_ _Concrete_ _Abstract_ _Concrete_ _Abstract_

  street     scope      coat       time       pen        law
  ink        proof      woman      aft        clock      thought
  lamp       scheme     house      route      man        plot
  spoon      form       salt       phase      floor      glee
  horse      craft      glove      work       sponge     life
  chair      myth       watch      truth      hat        rhythm
  stone      rate       box        thing      chalk      faith
  ground     cause      mat        tact       knife      mirth

The examiner should repeat these lists of words to the subject one at
a time, alternating the concrete and abstract lists. To insure the
presentation of the words with an even tempo, a metronome may be had
by simply swinging a small weight on a string, having the string of
just sufficient length so that the beats come at intervals of one
second. Each word should be pronounced distinctly in time with the
beat of the metronome, but without rhythm. After each list has been
pronounced, have the subject write the list from memory. The lists
thus made up by the subject from memory are then to be inspected with
reference to the following points:

1. Memory errors (omissions and displacements), concrete lists.

2. Memory errors (omissions and displacements), abstract lists.

Every omission counts two errors; every displacement counts two-thirds
when the displacement is by one remove only, one and one-third when by
more than one move.

3. Insertions. These are words added by the subject. They count for
two errors each, unless the added word resembles the word given in
sound, in which case it counts one and one-third.

4. Perseverations. These are reproductions in a given series of words
already given in a previous series. If frequent, this indicates a low
order of intelligence, with weak self-control and poor critical
judgment. Each perseveration counts four.

5. Substitution of synonyms, when a word of like meaning but different
sound is substituted for the word given; counts one and one-third.

[Sidenote: _A Test for Range of Vocabulary_]

An approximate determination of the range of vocabulary of your
prospective stenographer can be had by the use of the following
comparatively short and simple test.

Hand the applicant a printed slip bearing the list of one hundred
words given here and ask him to mark the words carefully according
to these instructions.

Place _before_ each word one of these three signs:

(I) A plus sign (+) if you know the word.

(II) A minus sign (-) if you do not know the word.

(III) A question mark (?) if you are in doubt.

When you have finished, count the marks and fill out these blanks,
making sure that the numbers add to one hundred.

Number known      ...........

Number unknown    ...........

Number doubtful   ...........

  abductor         decide          interim            rejoice
  abeam            deception       lanuginose         rejoin
  abed             disentomb       lanuginous         rejoinder
  abet             disentrance     lanugo             rejuvenate
  amalgamation     disepalous      lanyard            scroll
  amanuensis       disestablish    matting            scrub
  amaranth         eschar          mattock            scruff
  baron            escheat         mattress           scrunch
  baroscope        escort          maturate           skylight
  barouche         eschalot        muff               skyrocket
  barque           filiform        muffin             skysail
  bottle-holder    filigree        muffle             skyward
  bottom           filing          mufti              subcutaneous
  bottomry         fill            page               sub-let
  boudoir          gourd           pagoda             subdue
  channel          gout            paid               tenderloin
  chant            govern          pail               tendinous
  chanticleer      gown            photograph         tendon
  chaos            hodman          photographer       tendril
  concatenate      hoe             photography        tycoon
  concatenation    hoecake         photo-lithograph   tymbal
  concave          hog             publication        type
  conceal          intercede       pudding            virago
  decemvirate      interdict       puddle             virescent
  decency          interest        pudgy              virgin

By adding find the total number of "plus" marks on the applicant's
slip. Multiply this number by 280, and you will then have obtained
the applicant's absolute vocabulary.

An absolute vocabulary of twenty thousand words or over may be graded
as excellent; 17,500 to 20,000 words, good; 15,000 to 17,500, fair;
and below 15,000, poor.

You should not employ as train-dispatcher a person whose
time-reactions indicate a tendency to confuse associated ideas. The
associated ideas may be related in time, place or a variety of ways,
and the memory of one who has an inherent tendency to substitute
an associate for the thing itself is a treacherous instrument. The
tendency to confuse associated ideas can be measured by psychological

Your own knowledge of the work of the world will suggest other
employments besides that of train-dispatcher in which such a test
could be used in hiring men to the improvement of the service.

[Sidenote: _Crime-Detection by Psychological Tests_]

The employment of psychological tests in the detection of crime is
fast supplanting the brutalities of the "third degree."

Thus, for example, by the use of highly sensitive instruments we
are able to detect the quickened heart-beat, the shudder, and other
evidences of emotion not otherwise discernible, but due to the
deliberate presentation of the details and evidences of a crime.
Though the subject may not himself be aware of the slightest physical
expression of emotion, these signs of a disturbed mentality are
unerringly revealed by the delicate instruments of the psychologist.

[Sidenote: _The Factory Operative's Attention Power_]

In some factories the operative is called upon to simultaneously keep
watch over a large number of parts of a moving mechanism, and to note
and quickly correct a disturbance in any part. Eye and ear must have
a wide range, must be able to take account of a large number of
operations widely separated in space.


For the scientific determination of the operative's range of visual
attention, the "disc tachistoscope," shown facing page 106, may be used.
This is a form of short-exposure apparatus. The essential idea is to
furnish a field upon which the subject may for a moment fasten his
attention, and then to substitute for this field another containing
certain prepared test-material. This last field is exposed for but a
brief instant and removed, and the subject is then called upon to report
all that he has seen during the last exposure. Tests of this kind have
demonstrated that the range of visual attention is a comparatively
constant quantity with each individual, having but little relation to
general ability or intelligence and being but little affected by practice.

It matters not how painstaking the individual may be, he will fail in
a test of this kind and at work of this kind if the type of attention
that Nature gave him is unfitted for such an "expanded" watchfulness.
Yet in any type of work requiring a focusing of the attention upon a
minute operation so as to note nice discriminations and detect subtle
differences, he might prove a most excellent worker.

[Sidenote: _Kinds of Testing Apparatus_]

The kind of apparatus, the method to be employed and the place for
the experiment are all matters that vary with the conditions of the
special problem. The apparatus may be simple and easily devised, or it
may be intricate and the result of years of investigation and a large
expenditure of money.

If there seems to you to be anything impracticable in the employment
of tests in the manner we have indicated, please remember that for
many years those seeking employment as railroad engineers have been
required to pass tests for color-blindness, tests just as truly
psychological as any that we have here referred to and differing from
them only in respect to the character and complexity of the qualities

[Sidenote: _Analysis of Different Callings_]

Every calling can be analyzed and the mental elements requisite for
success in that particular line can be scientifically disentangled.
Methods for testing the individual as to his possession of any one
or all of the mental elements required in any given vocation may
then be devised in the psychological laboratory.

Furthermore, definite and scientific exercises can be formulated
whereby the individual may train and develop special senses, faculties
and powers so as the better to fit himself for his chosen field of

[Sidenote: _Exercises for Developing Special Faculties_]

The use of the experimental method is new to every department of
science. Crude and occasional experiments have marked the advance
of physics, physiology and chemistry, but it is only with the recent
innovation of the scientific laboratory that these sciences have made
their greatest strides.

The employment of this method in dealing with problems of the mind is
particularly new. So far as we are aware there is no school in all the
world that employs definite and scientific exercises in the discipline
and training of its pupils in power of observation, imagination and

You have now completed a brief survey of the fundamental processes
of the mind and seen something of the practical utility of this
knowledge. You have before you "sense-perceptions," "causal
judgments," "classifying judgments," and "associated emotional
qualities" or "feeling tones." Every suggested idea, every act of
reasoning is in the last analysis the product of one or more of
these elementary forms of mental activity.

We shall now go on to consider the operations of these mental
processes in connection with certain mental phenomena.

[Sidenote: _Principles that Bear on Practical Affairs_]

Our purpose in all this is not to teach you the elements of psychology
as it is ordinarily conceived or taught. Our aim is to conduct you
through certain special fields of psychological investigation, fields
that within the past few years have produced remarkable discoveries
of which the world, outside of a few specialists, knows little or
nothing. In this way you will be fitted to comprehend the practical
instruction, the application of these principles to practical affairs,
toward which this _Course_ is tending.

Transcriber's Note:

Illustrations have been moved from their original positions, so as
to be nearer to their corresponding text, or for ease of navigation
around paragraphs. Duplicate chapter headers have been removed from
the text version of this ebook and hidden in the HTML version.

The following typographical corrections have been made to this text:


  Page 106: Changed 102 to 106 (shown facing page 106), to reflect
            repositioning of illustration in this ebook.

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